The Legal Concepts of “Reasonable Suspicion” and “Probable Cause”
Under criminal law, reasonable suspicion is defined as a lower level or standard of suspicion. This is determined by the fact that the police have a much smaller range of legal possibilities in this case. This is due to the lack of the necessary objective evidence. However, there is an apparent dichotomy between the crimes committed by suspects in the past and possible events in the future (Carbado, 2020). Hence, more consistently, reasonable suspicion is defined as a guess or an assumption. The possible reason differs in that it represents a higher level of evidence or assumptions.
In this case, there is also a correlation between the capabilities of the suspect and the criminal act committed. If there is a probable cause, it must be eliminated so that the suspect can be arrested. This is reflected in the fact that a crime has occurred, and the specified suspect is a more likely criminal (Harr et al., 2017). The main criteria are that the suspect has specific characteristics that can define a person as having the ability to commit a crime. The legal criteria are that the police search suspects or temporarily detain them if there is reasonable suspicion (Carbado, 2020). However, this does not give the authorities the right to issue an arrest or search warrant. In contrast to the case of reasonable suspicion, probable cause has greater legal force. This is reflected in a broader range of opportunities for search and detention. However, it should be noted that directly for the arrest, the police must have valid evidence.
Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement
- Approval. The police could conduct a search without a warrant if the person gave voluntary consent to the search; that is, no objections were expressed. In fact, any subject concerning whom the police can reasonably believe that they are legally in these possessions, for example, a roommate or an office employee, can consent to a search. Consequently, the police have the right to search if the actual owner of the house or premises is absent.
- Administrative inspections. They are committed for purposes other than enforcement, for example, in the order of fire inspection. Judicial sanction is necessary only in the absence of a person’s consent for verification, but the standards for this are not so strict (Rozenshtein, 2019). The only case when the authorities do not need an administrative inspection warrant is an inspection of enterprises in the areas of high legal regulation.
- Urgent circumstances. These are emergencies in which the police cannot wait for a warrant. This happens, for example, when a call for help comes from a person in the owner’s house or if the police are pursuing a suspect in a criminal offense. In addition, an important aspect is the ability to stop the destruction of crucial evidence.
- A simple inspection. The police may conduct a search or seizure without a warrant if they are legally in a situation that allows them to see and have access to evidence and if it is undoubtedly incriminating. For example, if the police enter a house with a legitimate search warrant to find and seize stolen electronics and at the same time discovers a bag of drugs during a simple inspection. In this case, the police have the right to seize drugs, although the warrant did not give them special powers for such act (Rozenshtein, 2019). Similarly, the police can seize things without a warrant or inspect any other documents left in plain sight in the house. This is only possible if urgent circumstances led the police to the owner’s house. This can manifest itself in pursuing a criminal or searching for substantial evidence.
The resources used in the work were found in reliable electronic libraries and have a high degree of citation.
Carbado, D. W. (2020). Stop-and-Strip violence: The doctrinal migrations of reasonable suspicion. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 51, 467–490.
Harr, J. S., Hess, K. M., Orthmann, C. H., & Kingsbury, J. (2017). eBook: Constitutional Law and the Criminal Justice System (7th Edition). Cengage Learning US. Web.
Rozenshtein, A. Z. (2019). Fourth amendment reasonableness after Carpenter. The Yale Law Journal Forum, 943–960.